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Ad-fail(not): It came from the weight room ...

Ad-fail(not): It came from the weight room ...

Believe it or not, there was a time before “abs.” We didn’t have to blast fat, or chisel our triceps or sculpt our pecs. We didn’t even know what pecs were. Now, in the age of the abs, when we reflexively inhale and suck in our guts every time we walk by the magazine rack, one might think that all this sculpting and burning and blasting would raise these rock-hard physiques to be the very paragon of modern culture.

Instead they became ridiculous, a rising sentiment illustrated perfectly, and hilariously, by Organic Valley’s “Save the Bros” YouTube spot.

Saluting the muscled-up men who “consume two thirds of our nation’s light beer and 100 percent of our Axe body spray,” the spot goes on to explain that we are at risk of losing these “bros” to protein shakes full of“scary chemicals.”

“If bros keep pounding this stuff at this rate we could face a total bro colony collapse,” the narrator warns.

We should be so lucky.

I was raised in a family where sports were something that happened to other people. I was taught that jocks were stupid, and it wasn’t until I was an adult, when I stepped out of the bubble of my non-athletic household, that I realized “Wow, that’s completely true.” If I see a guy with six pack abs, I can only shrug, possibly smirk, and wonder if he spends more time in the gym or more time in front of the mirror. Then I remember that the weight room has mirrors and I call it a wash.

Now, I live in Boulder, where they put your body fat percentage on your drivers’ license, and the juice bar has a bouncer keeping the less fit outside the velvet rope. But lean replaced muscular back in the 70s here. In Boulder, the woman teaching the spin class has a silver medal, but only because she’s filling in for the guy with the gold medal. Being athletic is a lifestyle, not a look.

Here, the 80-mile bike rides on the weekend are my social life. I consider myself very fit but I don’t want to “build muscle” or “bulk up” or “destroy” my abs (really, they use that word). I certainly don’t want to be a “bro,” or even wear a tank top in public, something that apparently now requires at least one tattoo. I know I am not alone in this.

When the concerned faces in the Organic Valley spot picture a world without bros—“Who would remind us to go big or to go home?”—I know the whole world, at least the parts outside the weight room, is in on the joke. When I hear the narrator saying, “Bros don’t need to know that its organic,” and “Just tell a bro it has a ton of protein, and he’ll pound the &@!% out of it,” I also know that the organic food industry has finally found a sense of humor. That’s a relief. I don’t want to meet some of these bros in a dark alley, but I don’t want to meet Andrew Weil over organic carrot juice smoothies either. The Organic Valley video, a pitch for their Organic Fuel protein shakes, is a sign the industry knows how to lighten up.

So with bros consigned to the laugh track, I can only hope we have entered the post-abs area.

And I can finally exhale.

Fenchem launches new website

Fenchem launches new website

Fenchem Biotek has revamped its website to better convey product information, marketing development and services provided in the natural and healthy ingredients area.

The website features a brighter and fresher look and feel and a streamlined navigation. The structure of the site, its design and its functionalities are well adapted to today’s needs and preferences. The major improvements are new items launched: Services and Responsibility.

Fenchem not only provides high-quality products but also value-added services, including global sourcing, tailored solutions, custom-made production and efficient logistics. We are building a global sourcing network to constantly provide exciting new materials and products and innovative ideas to our customers. Our technological team can help our customers develop new products, solve application problems, reduce costs and simplify their manufacturing process. Seven overseas offices can provide fast delivery service to local customers.

Society responsibility is the other theme to be emphasized. All of our products are developed with the goal of reducing production and application waste. We select raw materials from sustainable natural resources and do our best to protect the environment through efficient use of those materials.

The new website has an English version, and other language versions including German, French and Spanish will be available in March.

This site is compatible with many Internet browsers, and features excellent traceability by major search engines. It is the result of the combined work done by central staff and regional editors. We are happy to welcome you on our brand new website,

Barry Callebaut awarded new patent on reduced-fat chocolate

Barry Callebaut awarded new patent on reduced-fat chocolate

The Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, announced that the European Patent Office has awarded their patent EP 2 152 091 on reduced-fat chocolate. With this patent, the Barry Callebaut Group continues to broaden its innovation-based product offering of reformulated products. The company is now able to offer its customers an additional solution for products with a better energy balance and an improved composition—without compromising on taste.

Patent on reduced fat chocolate to broaden the Group's portfolio
The patented process makes it possible to manufacture milk chocolate with only 25 percent of fat by weight (a similar milk chocolate has 36 percent of fat). The process consists of a means to refine fatcoated particles before the traditional conching step. Barry Callebaut can apply this newly developed processing technique for products used in applications like enrobing (bars and biscuits) and moulding (tablets, pralines). The patent on reduced-fat chocolate is a new addition to the Barry Callebaut Group's portfolio of now more than 30 international filed patents.

Calorie management is high on consumer wish list
“Some consumers are looking for ways to reduce their calorie intake,” said Marijke De Brouwer, program manager of authenticity and permissibility at the Barry Callebaut Group. Finding their favorite indulgence with fewer calories is high on the wish list. Reducing the fat content has bigger impact on calories than reducing sugar. Calorie reduction is an even bigger challenge in chocolate as both fat and sugar reduction is needed. It is all about finding the right balance. Barry Callebaut has a long history in reformulation in a responsible way. With the new processing technique we continue to offer to our customers solutions that will help them to reformulate their products without compromising on taste.” 


Aker BioMarine to fund sustainability research in Antarctica

Aker BioMarine to fund sustainability research in Antarctica

Aker BioMarine, a leading supplier of krill-derived products to the consumer health and wellness and animal nutrition markets, is proud to have made the inaugural commitment to the new Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWR), reinforcing the company's unwavering dedication to sustainability.

"We have spent the last 12 years developing a sustainable harvesting infrastructure for krill and turning it into innovative products with recognized health benefits," said Aker BioMarine CEO Hallvard Muri. "All the way, we have been supporting science and working with key NGOs to make sure we are doing it right."

Now the company is taking the next step, in an innovative partnership with key scientists and NGOs: The Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWR)

Aker BioMarine's $500,000 USD commitment
At the seminar Norway and Australia: Partners in Antarctica and for Sustainable Oceans in Sydney Elisabeth Røkke announced Aker BioMarine's financial commitment of $500,000 USD to the AWR.

Operating sustainably within a complex ecosystem is not a solo effort; It requires a team effort of multiple disciplines" said Ms. Røkke representing Aker BioMarine."Our mission is to ensure that sound science, robust research and a precautionary approach guide all decisions on Antarctic fisheries."

Lalen Dogan, Aker BioMarine Antarctic's Representative in Australia proudly announced that the Australian companies Blackmores and Swisse have also stepped up to become partners of the AWR: 

"There are many sustainability programs out there, but few that include mechanisms for the consumer to get involved in a meaningful way. The AWR addresses that by involving them in opportunities to contribute to the solution, and I am happy that these companies feel the same way."

New research collaboration project announced
In addition to the AWR inaugural launch, the University of Tasmania and partner organisations, including Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian Antarctic Division and Aker BioMarine will announce a three-year Australian Research Council collaboration project, which will facilitate critical research on krill biology.

Aker BioMarine's extensive sustainability commitments already include:

  • The only krill harvester in the world that has been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for sustainability and traceability
  • Aker BioMarine, and soon all Norwegian vessels operating in the Antarctic, have introduced standards such as 100 percent independent observer coverage
  • The introduction of satellite tracking on vessels in the region
  • Active in stakeholder dialogue with regulatory and environmental authorities and stakeholders, such as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, the British Antarctic Survey and Australian Antarctic Division and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Norway)

More on the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund:

  • The Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund was established in January 2015 by The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Norway), The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition - ASOC and Aker BioMarine Antarctic AS.
  • The Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund will raise donations from commercial and private partners in order to facilitate and promote research on the Antarctic ecosystem
  • A Science Advisory Group will evaluate and prioritize scientific research proposals for the Board of the Fund.



Algatech names new CEO, chief scientist

Algatech names new CEO, chief scientist

Algatechnologies (Algatech) announces the appointment of Ronnie Meninger as CEO. Mr. Hagai Stadler of Grovepoint (Algatech's major shareholder), who served in the last two years as an interim CEO, will become a director on the board of directors and will be in charge of M&A activities for Algatech. Sammy Boussiba PhD., was appointed chief scientist to Algatech' board of directors.

Meninger has more than 30 years of experience in the fine chemical, special ingredients and pharmaceutical industries. She served in multiple managerial positions, and was managing director of Chemada Fine chemicals, Israel (part of the ICL Group). Meninger also is a board member of several public companies in Israel. She holds an MBA and B.Sc in Life Sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“I’m excited to join Algatech and be part of its excellent team,” says Meninger. “Our strategy for the next years includes major investments in developing unique active ingredients, incorporating innovative technologies to our cultivating process and growing through synergistic acquisitions. In addition, we will offer new delivery forms and increase our focus on compiling more comprehensive scientific data for the AstaPure® brand in order to maintain our distinctive quality, and offer advanced natural astaxanthin solutions to our customers. We also will recruit new key positions and invest further in human resources.”

“I’m very pleased to welcome Ronnie Meninger as the CEO of Algatech,” says Ed Hofland, Algatech’s chairman. “I’m convinced that under Ronnie’s leadership Algatech will continue to grow and show strong performance based on its solid foundations and devoted team. Ronnie’s global experience, coupled with our unquenchable team passion, will enable us to face the dynamic market challenges and continue building Algatech’s global presence.

Meninger’s first strategic accomplishment was to nominate Boussiba, from The Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev as Chief Scientist to the Board of Directors. Boussiba is among the world’s leading scientists in microalgae biotechnology and the inventor of the technology used by Algatech for the AstaPure natural astaxanthin production.

“Boussiba's nomination is important for our future success,” notes Meninger. “Science is one of our company foundations and we aim to increase investment not only in innovation but also in new technologies, sustainable production and improved business models.”

Algatech is a global biotechnology company specializing in the commercial cultivation of microalgae and a member of NAXA—the Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association. Algatech' proprietary process of the AstaPure brand employs a closed system, ensuring a fully controlled process, a high active-ingredient content, an extremely pure product and consistently reliable quality. The use of supercritical CO2 extraction technology guarantees solvent-free products.

Visit us at Vitafoods Europe, booth #L39.


Tetrahedron's Ergoneine self-affirmed GRAS

Tetrahedron's Ergoneine self-affirmed GRAS

Tetrahedron, a Paris, France-based R&D company specializing in developing innovative ingredients for the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and personal care industries, announces that an independent panel of scientific experts has confirmed the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of its L-ergothioneine, under the brand name ERGONEINE™. For the first time, with this GRAS designation, ERGONEINE is available for incorporation into nutritional products. ERGONEINE helps create a balance in a diet potentially lacking this nutrient.

L-ergothioneine is a unique naturally occurring nutrient produced in nature only by microorganisms and fungi, and brought to the living world from plants to man. Plants absorb L-ergothioneine via symbiotic associations between their roots and soil fungi. Animals and humans absorb L-ergothioneine exclusively through their respective food chains, as they are unable to produce L-ergothioneine. Particularly noteworthy is that human genome includes a gene coding for a specific transporter of L-ergothioneine, allowing the incorporation of this nutrient in all essential tissues. Mushrooms, black and red beans, oat bran, garlic and some meat products (liver and kidney) are the main dietary sources of L-ergothioneine for man.

L-ergothioneine has been recognized as a physiological antioxidant that may play a critical role in many aspects of healthy aging by supporting the body’s defenses against oxidative stress. In fact, several well-known and highly respected scientific authorities have suggested in published papers that L-ergothioneine may well be an unrecognized vitamin.

With the GRAS designation, Tetrahedron now offers this highly pure and safe source of L-ergothioneine for incorporation into a wide range of nutritional products, therefore providing the opportunity to balance a diet that would not integrate known or reliable sources of this nutrient.

Tetrahedron’s patented process is the first to provide pure L-ergothioneine, produced from natural amino acids in accordance with current good manufacturing practices, and available at an economically viable cost in commercial quantities. The company will now begin to market the ingredient to the functional food and nutraceutical industry. L-ergothioneine has been used in high end beauty products for many years.

“We are very excited to bring this new source of L-ergothioneine to market,” says Jean-Claude Yadan, PhD, president of Tetrahedron and a recognized world expert on ergothioneine. “Over 100 years of published research have suggested the untold potential health benefits of ergothioneine. Until now, that potential has gone unrealized due to the unavailability of L-ergothioneine at a cost and quality that makes it fully marketable. Our new ERGONEINE ingredient, now generally recognized as safe, will fulfill the unmet need for this very unique antioxidant Lergothioneine in Health Nutrition.”

BioCell Collagen enhances post-exercise recovery

BioCell Collagen enhances post-exercise recovery

BioCell Technology announced the publication of a new clinical study on BioCell Collagen®. The study, now indexed on PubMed, describes the potential of BioCell Collagen for protecting the connective tissue of the musculoskeletal system and enhancing recovery from intense exercise. The randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study was carried out by investigators at the Center for Applied Health Sciences (CAHS) who presented data in June at the 2014 International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Earlier clinical studies of BioCell Collagen have substantiated its safety and efficacy in promoting joint health and skin beauty. As these studies provide evidence that the patented healthy aging ingredient supports various connective tissues throughout the body, this proof-of-concept study was conducted to investigate whether daily intake of BioCell Collagen for six weeks could protect skeletal muscle connective tissue following an intense exercise challenge, and also enhance recovery. Data from the study showed that BioCell Collagen attenuated deleterious changes in muscle tissue damage and inflammatory biomarkers including creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, and C-reactive protein. In addition, subjects who took BioCell Collagen appeared to show a more robust “repeated bout effect” as compared to placebo, suggesting augmented tissue recovery and remodeling.

“Extending its market-leading position as a key joint and skin health ingredient, this new clinical study in recreationally active healthy subjects provides intriguing dataset suggesting that this patented, research-backed dietary supplement has promising new applications in sports nutrition” says Suhail Ishaq, president of BioCell Technology, “This opens up a new category in sports nutrition regarding connective tissue protection and recovery from post-workout soreness and limiting repetitive, overuse related injuries.”

The details of the abstract are published in the JISSN website.


Could an organic check-off help grow the industry in all directions?

Could an organic check-off help grow the industry in all directions?

When the Organic Trade Association voted in September to move ahead with an organic check-off program - a federal program that would collect money from organic producers and use it to research and promote organic as a whole - the organization had already been working on the effort for three years, and it was only the beginning. But there's a long way to go before the check-off is a reality, OTA Executive Director Laura Batcha said, including some battling of opposition, which is just starting to pick up steam now.

The next step is to file an official application with the USDA, which will then be reviewed by the agency and, presumably, published in the federal register, at which point it would be open for public comment for 60 days. If all progresses smoothly, Batcha estimates the check-off might be ready to roll in about two years. So what will that mean? What will the check-off look like, and what are the ultimate goals and vision laid out for it?

The specific programming will be up to the board, which will be made up of eight producers and eight processors and handlers. While some critics fear a check-off might favor one segment of the industry over another—processors over farmers, for example—Batcha said the board is designed to prevent exactly that type of conflict. “Neither of those groups have a majority on the board," she said. "It's 50-50, so it's got to be in everybody's best interest.”

Opposition is surfacing mainly from conventional producers and from people who don’t feel they can trust check-off systems as a whole, Batcha said, and not from people who dislike the model of the organic check-off specifically. She said the opposition that OTA have heard from within the organic industry is spread evenly among large and small players, so it’s not an issue of large or small companies feeling neglected, either.

Companies with less than $250,000 in gross annual revenue are exempt from the mandatory check-off fee, but can voluntarily pay $100 into the fund in exchange for a say in how check-off funds are spent. While the check-off fee is mandatory for everyone else, by law companies only have to pay one of the mandatory check-off fees they are eligible for and can choose which of those they want to participate in. An organic dairy operation, for example, could pay into either the organic check-off or the dairy check-off.

What the funds could do

Once the organic check-off is established, the board will decide how to spend the funds, which will be divided evenly between research, public education and promotion, information services, and increasing organic acreage. One quarter of the funds will be for discretionary spending by the board.

Batcha may have a glimpse, though, at what some of the first steps might look like. “We know there are pressing needs," she said. "It's just about really educating the consumer about what organic is, versus other claims—and having enough, quite frankly, money and volume behind that message to break through."

There are also some research needs—in strategies for organic weed management, for example, which is a perennial challenge for organic farmers, as well as finding alternatives to materials, such as antibiotics, on the national list of prohibited substances.

Unlike most conventional check-offs, the organic check-off will require a vote every seven years (a continuance referendum) as a means to ensure members continue to be happy with the program and feel their interests are represented by it.

Ultimately, Batcha said, the goal is to grow the industry in all directions. “What would be the most positive outcome would be that the industry is still growing from a demand side, but that the supply-side growth, in the U.S. in terms of domestic acres of farm, had caught up with the demand," she said. "And that we doubled-tripled-quadrupled acres of organic production—and all the while farmers were making a living and the premium that they needed to, to make it worth being certified organic.

"The overall impact is for the industry to be able to engage in self-help and self-investment over the long haul," she added. "So $30 million to $40 million a year sounds great one year. It will be a complete game-changer year over year. That’s how many of these industries have thrived. It's consistent investment.”

Vitamin D deficiency linked more closely to diabetes than obesity

Vitamin D deficiency linked more closely to diabetes than obesity

People who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have diabetes, regardless of how much they weigh, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The results help clarify the connection between vitamin D, obesity and diabetes. According to the Society’s Scientific Statement on the Non-skeletal Effects of Vitamin D, studies have found that people who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to be obese. They also are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome than people with normal vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and maintain bone and muscle health. The skin naturally produces this vitamin after exposure to sunlight. People also absorb smaller amounts of the vitamin through foods, such as milk fortified with vitamin D. More than 1 billion people worldwide are estimated to have deficient levels of vitamin D due to limited sunshine exposure.

“The major strength of this study is that it compares vitamin D levels in people at a wide range of weights (from lean to morbidly obese subjects) while taking whether they had diabetes into account,” said one of the study’s authors, Mercedes Clemente-Postigo, MSc, of Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Málaga (IBIMA) at Complejo Hospitalario de Málaga (Virgen de la Victoria) and Universidad de Málaga in Malaga, Spain.

The cross-sectional study compared vitamin D biomarkers in 118 participants at the university hospital Virgen de la Victoria in Malaga as well as 30 participants from the Hospital Universitari Dr. Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain. All participants were classified by their body-mass index (BMI) as well as whether they had diabetes, prediabetes or no glycemic disorders. Researchers measured levels of vitamin D in the participants’ blood streams and vitamin D receptor gene expression in adipose tissue.

The analysis found that obese subjects who did not have glucose metabolism disorders had higher levels of vitamin D than diabetic subjects. Likewise, lean subjects with diabetes or another glucose metabolism disorder were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D levels were directly correlated with glucose levels, but not with BMI.

“Our findings indicate that vitamin D is associated more closely with glucose metabolism than obesity,” said one of the study’s authors, Manuel Macías-González, PhD, of Complejo Hospitalario de Málaga (Virgen de la Victoria) and the University of Málaga. “The study suggests that vitamin D deficiency and obesity interact synergistically to heighten the risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders. The average person may be able to reduce their risk by maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough outdoor activity.”